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Yellowstone Hits Another Visitation Record Hot

Yellowstone National ParkYellowstone National Park saw 3.6 million visitors in 2010In 2010, the nation and world's first-ever national park, Yellowstone National Park, saw over 3.6 million visitors, blowing out the previous record set in 2009 by over 300,000 people.

The park’s busiest entrance, the West Entrance handled the bulk of the load with over 1.5 million people passing through.

The high numbers were in part due to a very successful summer and fall. The park set individual month visitation records in June, July, August, September and October.

There are many different aspects that have revived the park’s popularity. Some think that the weak American economy could be a contributing factor. Park managers believe that the American public recognizes visiting national parks as a good value for their travel budget.

"We're in tough economic times, and people are really watching they're spending," said Park Spokesman Al Nash. "But they still want to get away, and you can come to a place like Yellowstone and sort of scale up or scale down your visit depending on the time and money you feel you can devote to a trip."

State tourism offices have aggressively promoted vacations to the park—another factor that led to Yellowstone’s success in 2010. In addition, the stabilizing economy, reasonable gas prices, good weather and PBS series chronicling national parks likely played a part in the visitation record.

Regardless of the reason, the success is good for the park and for the surrounding area. More entrance fees mean more money will go towards improving park facilities as well as preserving a national treasure.

"All of those visitors spend money on lodging, on campgrounds, groceries, meals, other sites, gifts, etc," Nash said. "We know that we're a core focus of visitors, but they spend a lot of time and a lot of money all around this area."

This is the second consecutive year and the third time in the last four years, Yellowstone National Park has set an annual visitation record. The year a visitation record was not set, 2008, still received over three million visitors.

For detailer national park statistics, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/stats/.

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